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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Tim Atkin MW

Despite the well publicised opposition of the Syndicat des Vignerons of Vouvray, who argued that the event focused on a grape variety at the expense of appellations, the first Rendez Vous du Chenin, held at the Abbaye de Fontevraud between 2 and 5 July, was so successful that the organisers plan to make it an annual event. The three day tasting brought together 214 wines from six different countries (France, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, the United States and Morocco), and 50 judges. The full range of Chenin styles were on display, including a number of wines from Vouvray producers, who had ignored the views of the Conseil d'Administration of the Vouvray syndicat. A number of high profile South African producers attended, including Ken Forrester and Teddy Hall. While 80% of the wines entered were French, Cape wines particularly impressed the judges, dominating the dry wine categories. Ten of the 20 dry wines singled out were South African. In the sweet wine category, the Loire Valley came into its own: 18 of the 19 wines were French, with Coteaux du Layon the dominant appellation.